JpPresser: Bears finding their groove in St. Louis
Last week on CLTV Sports Feed I predicted the Bears would beat the St. Louis Rams 21-17. My score was a little off, but my selection was correct. In last week’s JpPresser I talked about how the week 9 win over the Chargers would be a confidence builder for a team that was still searching for its identity. Over the last two weeks I’ve noticed a Bears team that believes they can win every time they step out on the field. Having that kind of confidence is going to be beneficial as this team keep progressing. The Bears could be .500 if they can beat the Broncos. Could we be talking about playoffs or wildcard? I will slow my role and just enjoy this win over the Rams. I went back and studied the game film and there was a lot to be happy about if you are a Bears fan moving forward. Let’s rush right into my 5 takeaways.
- Jeremy Langford is the future for the Bears. The first time I saw Jeremy Langford run the rock at Michigan State I said to myself “Man, this kid can play.” There was something about how he would glide on the football field. I knew back then that he would be one of those back that would excel at the next level as long as he was placed in the right system. Getting the chance to watch him week in and week out with the Bears I appreciate his skill set even more now. Langford ended the day with 20 carries for 73 rushing yards, and another seven catches for 109 yards. His 83-yard screen pass for a touchdown was amazing but the speed he showed blew me way. It’s sort of strange how similar Langford and Forte are. You can tell by how knowledgeable he is with running the ball and even his understanding of pass protection. Forte has been a great teacher for the youngster. The more he plays the better he will get. The future is bright for Jeremy Langford. Make sure you have your sunglasses ready.
- The defense is getting better. Coming into this season the Bears defense was under a microscope. Not only did they get a new defensive coordinator in Vic Fangio they would also be switching over to a 3-4 defense. Switching defenses wouldn’t be so bad if a majority of the guys in the locker room were 3-4 guys. This year has been a learning process for this defense, but they seem to be finding a groove. They started the game kind of shaky in the 1st half, but settled in as the game moved on. Yesterday we saw a forced fumble and recovery by Shea McClellin and an interception by Willie Young. The defense had a big task at hand this week and that would be slowing down Rams rookie phenom Todd Gurley who came into the game red hot. Gurley was averaging 22 carries and 131 rushing yards over his previous five games. The Bears accomplished that task by holding Gurley to 12 carries for 45 yards. That is a testament of how well the D played as a unit and I didn’t think I would say this, but it’s good having Shea McClellin back in the lineup. McClellin finished the game with 8 total tackles, 6 of those were solo. He is the QB of the defense and is showing improvement every game he plays. The guy that really caught my eye was cornerback Tracy Porter. Watching him make plays off the football in coverage shows me that he is really understanding his keys and putting in lots of hours in film study each week. This defense is getting more confident and having more swagger. They still have a lot more work ahead of them, but it’s fun watching them grow.
- It’s Miller Time! Last year in the preseason I was excited to see what Zach Miller could bring to this Bears offense. Then he would get hurt and my dreams were crushed. It’s a new year and it seems like there is a new Miller on the field. Miller has always had the skills to play, but he has been hampered by injuries. In the last 2 games Miller has had 3 touchdowns and seems to be finding his spot in Adam Gase’s system. Yesterday Miller would finish the game with two touchdowns and 107 yards on 5 catches. Looking ahead, I can’t wait to see more two tight end sets that Adam Gase comes up with. Defenses will have to decide between Miller or Martellus Bennett. The old Zach Miller is back in the original can.
- Adam Gase is good. Jay Cutler has been looking for that person to help him elevate his game and he found that in Adam Gase. Watching Cutler grow as a QB this year has been amazing. His control of the offense, ability to get up to the line and get his playmakers in the best situation shows his understanding of Gase’s philosophy. Cutler completed 19 of 24 passes for 258 yards, 3 touchdowns and no int’s. If you need him to throw the ball…he can do that. If you need him to use his legs…he can do that as well. Gase has shown over the past few weeks he is not scared to stick with running the football even though the offense is not getting huge plays. There is a trust between Gase and his whole offense. Yesterday he called a balanced game mixing up the pass and the run game. By doing that he kept the Rams defense, which has a really good pass rush, on their heels. I love the fact that he is our offensive coordinator, but I’m sad he might not be around for much longer. He has a great offensive mind and has been the best thing for Jay Cutler. In Gase we trust!
- Special Teams is like a seesaw. Every week I’m always waiting for the Bears special teams to something to put the game in jeopardy. Remember back in the day when the Bears Special Teams was a big driving force of the organization? Yes, not anymore ladies and gentleman. Good news from Sunday’s game was Robbie Gould bounced back from last week’s tough outing. Gould would go 3-for-3 on field goals. He wasn’t the issue on Sunday. Marc Mariani would muff his third punt of the year. The time might be right to see if there is another guy on your roster or maybe a free agent that you can grab to come in and shore up the return game.
I’m proud of how this team has played coming out of the bye week. They have played with a chip on their shoulder. I’ve been in that situation before, where no one outside your locker room believes you can win. It sparks something in you as a team, especially when you have a close group like they have at Halas Hall. Now this Bears team is sitting at 4-5 and if they can take care of their business they could be looking at a wildcard berth. It’s not out of the question right? Just look at the NFC North division. The Packers can’t figure it out, the Lions are all over the place and the Vikings are ok, but they are beatable. When I looked at week 11 of the schedule before the season and saw the Broncos I wrote an “L” beside it. After looking at Denver against Kansas City I just took out my pencil to make a correction. This Sunday the Bears can win versus Peyton and the Broncos. I see them Manning up and getting back to .500. #BearDown
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